The way in which your horse spends its day is a likely reflection of its well-being, according to researchers. Healthy, stress-free horses exhibit a highly repetitive daily routine, they said.
The findings of a review by researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna found that time budgets between semi-feral horses and domestic horses were similar when the latter were provided with free access to food, increased space to roam, and decreased population density.
The studies examined in their review support the importance of environmental conditions for horses’ well-being and the ability of time budgets to assist in monitoring horses’ welfare, the authors said.
“Activity time budgets allow an objective, quantitative on‐farm welfare assessment and comparison of different management, feeding, and housing systems,” they concluded.
In addition, changes in time budgets can be used to identify unsatisfactory conditions and monitor the success of management interventions to improve equine welfare.